Black Skylandsby Aethyna Jul 12, 2021 | 1 Votes | 23 Played | 0 Reviews 8 rate Black Skylands is a sandbox-based adventure set in the skies. In this game, you’ll not only get to customize your very own skyship and rebuild the Fathership (your home base); you’ll also get to embark on an exciting adventure to recover various floating islands from the enemy, both hostile humans, and creatures from another plane. Play Now Similar Games Played
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Black Skylands is a sandbox-based adventure set in the skies. In this game, you’ll not only get to customize your very own airship and rebuild the Fathership (your home base); you’ll also get to embark on an exciting adventure to recover various floating islands from the enemy, both hostile humans, and creatures from another plane.
The game is set in a world that’s very different from what we’re used to. For starters, everyone in the game lives on floating islands or airships. There are the typical occupations like traders and workers, but you’ve also got “Earners” who are the people who explore the world the game is based on and bring back new discoveries as well as treasures from these places.
Now, in this game, you play as the daughter of a very successful Earner called Eva who lived on the Fathership a massive Airship parked in the cluster of islands called Aspya.
Your father, Richard the Earner, has finally made it through the Eternal Storm and discovered the home world of a race of invasive species called the Swarm. He brought back a sample of the Swarm, thinking it was a herbivore only to have it attempt to attack his own son and your younger brother, Aaron.
The situation made Commander Eldon, the person in charge of defending the Fathership, to draw his weapon and fire at the creature. At the same time, Kain the Hunter, Eva and Aaron’s uncle, dived to push Aaron out of harm’s way. A bullet from the Commander’s pistol hit Kain beloved falcon, striking it dead.
Kain blamed Richard for bringing the creature to Aspya in the first place, resulting in his falcon’s death.
7 year later, Kain has amassed a massive “militia” called the Falcons who are supposed to protect the Fathership from Swarm attacks while the Commander is fight the Swarm at the frontlines, but he has gone rogue to some extent.
Richard wanted to head back into the Eternal Storm to find something to defeat the Swarm with and not let them overrun the people of Aspya, while Kain thought Richard is going to add more fuel to the fire and cause even more trouble.
That’s where you come in! Your father won’t be able to make a move without Kain knowing, but you have a bit more freedom in that respect.
Plus, your brother, Aaron, has been doing some investigating of his own and by following his trail of clues, both of you might just be able to find something to stem the Swarm’s tide.
Black Skylands has intriguing gameplay, to say the least, especially if you’re into adventure games.
The whole premise of the game is to reclaim the many floating islands in Aspya from the Falcons in the name of the Earners, and to do so, you’ll need to clear all Falcons on those islands.
To travel to these islands, you’ll need to rely on your trusty airship and oftentimes your grappling hook. Piloting your airship is pretty easy to grasp here, though when your ship is facing the “opposite” site, you might feel like the controls are inverted. The “hook and pull” method of travel, on the other hand, is very similar to Dandara albeit in a top-down fashion. Plus, it can be a real lifesaver if you happen to fall off your ship or and island since apparently, the hook is pretty long.
However, if you do end up falling and there’s nothing for you to latch your hook on, then know that all is not yet lost. Your trusty moth pet – and yes, you read that right – your pet is a moth – will be able to somehow carry your heavy ass back onto your ship. It can only do much though since it’s probably incredibly taxing for it to do so. That’s why it’d be wise to be careful and not fall off too often.
Combat-wise, the game is essentially a top-down twin-stick shooter but it’s done in a very fun way. In addition to shooting an enemy to death, there are multiple ways for you to deal that killing blow. You can knock enemies off the edge of the islands or blow them sky-high with explosive barrels or grenades.
You could also use the hook to pull enemies towards you from behind, killing them with a single blow, but this feature requires the Backstabs upgrade which you can get via the Armory once you’ve built the building and liberated enough people (a.k.a. islands) to unlock it.
That being said, the game can be quite challenging as you travel over to the “tougher” islands where all the tougher enemies reside. These enemies often come with more protective gear, allowing them to soak up your bullets like water is to a sponge… and you’ve got limited bullets to take them all down.
Oh, and although you can equip up to 3 types of guns at a time, each gun can only house so much ammo, so even with flawless aim, you might be hard-pressed to clear some of these islands in a single visit.
Ship combat is a little bit different in the sense that it feels more awkward since you only can rotate your cannons to one of three pre-fixed angles to fire on your enemies. It would have been nicer to have the cannons work like swivel cannons with a bit freer movement. Thankfully, the enemy airships are subjected to the same restrictions as you do. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said about enemy drones. They often feel like pesky mosquitoes, to be honest.
Of course, with guns and airships, there’s the option to customize them too! Guns can be equipped with mods that you can randomly get – gacha-style – via the mod crates you find and then unlocked at the Fathership. Airships can be customize as well here, or if you prefer, you can save up to buy a brand new albeit costlier ship.
Black Skylands is also very exploration driven. Although the size of the map is pretty much fixed, there are plenty of floating islands for you to explore, in addition to enemies to battle. Some islands even have secret niches that can be quite tricky to travel to, even with an agile airship and your useful grappling hook.
As you travel the skies, you may stumble upon fishing spots… yes, fishing spots in the sky… where you can play a simple “tap on the correct key at the right time” mini-game to get free ship repair kits. There are abandoned airships where you can get some more repair kits as well as freely-floating currency crates too.
Being an RPG, the game even has story-driven quests that you can choose to ignore if you so wish. You can decide to liberate all the islands before pursuing the quest chain, for instance. You are the protagonist of the game and it is only right for you to decide how you’d like to go about doing things.
Last but not least, Black Skylands has some “city-building” elements as well since one of your goals is to restore the damaged Fathership. There are multiple “building plots” that you can clear debris away from before building a variety of structures, depending on the resource you have and your need, such as a farm to harvest crops, or the armory to craft new weapons and activate new upgrades.
All in all, I’d say that Black Skylands has a lot of good things going for it but unfortunately, it’s really a very early access game and thus, it has plenty of bugs and issues.
There are times when animals block paths essentially trapping you in buildings; there are times when you have a building spawned right on top of you when you liberate an island, trapping you there. There are plenty of times where you may find yourself, or an enemy, stuck on some wall. If these happened to you, know that you can actually hold “C” on the keyboard to get your pet moth to carry you back to your ship. It would have been nice if this function is listed in the list of controls in the game though! Took me a jaunt over at the game’s Discord channel to find this out myself!
That being said, if it’s your airship that’s stuck, well, you can try saving and quitting to fix the issue or you could just – the horror – start a new game, forfeiting whatever progress you had in your previous playthrough.
There’s also only 1 save slot apparently. So if you or the autosave feature screwed that one up, hours of gameplay may just go down the drain if you happen to encounter a bug that can only be fixed if you start a fresh game. It sucks but that’s just early access for you!
Black Skylands is a single-player adventure so there’s no option for you to play the game with a friend. However, the community is very active, so if you encounter any issues and need help, the game’s Discord channel and its Steam discussion page are the places to visit.
The pixel graphics here are incredibly detailed and amazing. The music is very well-composed too, especially during those story-driven moments where the music really adds atmosphere and emotion to what was going on on-screen.
For what it’s worth, Black Skylands is truly a very promising game, but the game has way too many bugs and issues to provide a suitably enjoyable experience. As I’ve mentioned before, it is possible that your hours of effort will just go down the drain if you happen to encounter a bug that required a fresh gameplay to fix. It might be wise to wishlist the game for now and buy it later down the road, maybe after the game is launched.